Online Sunday School. Review of The Gospel of Matthew, God with Us, Kerygma materials

The “good news” of Matthew contains the most references from the Hebrew Bible of any gospel.
Matthew depicts Jesus as the culmination of Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah, obedient to God and fulfilling the law and the prophets.
However Jesus also crosses the traditional boundaries of Judaism. God comes to the whole world, not just to the Jews. Matthew shows Jesus born in Bethlehem, David’s home town, fleeing to Egypt, and returning, invoking the original Joseph, Moses and the Exodus.
After being baptized by John and rejecting the devil’s temptations, Jesus went up the mountain and taught them “Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, the merciful, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”
Jesus fulfills the law and the prophets, calling his followers to a higher level of righteousness. “Do not just love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Love your enemies too. Turn the other cheek; go a second mile.”
Jesus’ call to higher righteousness concerns not just the “big stuff”, but underlying “small stuff”, anger and insult, desire, getting even.
Jesus then prepares his disciples for the costs of discipleship. “Bringing peace will also create conflict, even within your families. Still those who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
Jesus said that if anyone wanted to be his follower, they must take up their cross and follow him.
Jesus says if someone sins against you, forgive them seventy seven times.
Simon Peter recognized Jesus as the Messiah, predicted by Isaiah.
Jesus went up a high mountain. His clothes became dazzling white, and his face shone, like the face of Moses shone to the Israelites after he talked to God.  
A young man asks, what good deed he must do to have eternal life” Jesus said “Keep the commandments. But to be complete, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, then come, follow me.”
The young man went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Jesus said, “For mortals to be saved is impossible, but for God all is possible.”
Jesus also told his disciples “whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant. The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he rode as the prophet Zechariah said, humble, and mounted on a donkey.
In his last major discourse, Jesus depicts a last judgment at which people are judged based on how they treated “the least of these”, those who are hungry, naked, strangers, imprisoned. “As you treat them, so you treat me.”
Jesus eats a last Passover meal with his disciples. “Take and eat this bread; this is my body. Drink from this cup.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus is betrayed by the leaders of Judaism, and by the people who had waved palms for him.
Jesus is betrayed by his disciple Judas , but also by his closest disciples, who will not stay awake with him in the garden of Gethsemane, who run away and hide, and even by Peter, who denies him three times.
Only Jesus remained faithful. Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
We betray Jesus regularly as well. We do not love our neighbors. We hedge when we confront the needy. We accommodate to wrongful acts of the powerful. We seek the seats of honor and do not challenge the things which contradict the kingdom.  We fear much. Our faith can be very weak.
But the disciples came back after the resurrection and went on to do great things for Jesus. Think about what gets in the way for us.
Jesus earthly ministry in Matthew ends as it began, on a mountain.  Matthew’s Gospel concludes with the “Great Commission”. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. ”
Two thousand years later the kingdom of heaven often seems very far away. How are we carrying out our commission? How is Jesus with us today?
 
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